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There is no “I” in Data Governance with Aakriti Agrawal from American Express

Clock Icon 59 minutes

About this episode

Our special guest, Aakriti Agrawal from American Express, shares her expertise and insights on the change management process, emphasizing the need for leadership rather than mere management.

Join hosts Juan and Tim for this insightful episode as we explore change management in the nonprofit sector, uncover the power of data governance, and learn strategies to effectively lead change within organizations.

00:00:00 Speaker 1
This is Catalog and Cocktails presented by data. world.

00:00:08 Tim Gasper
Hello everyone. Welcome to Catalog and Cocktails presented by data. world. It's your honest no BS non- salesy conversation about enterprise data management with tasty beverages in hand. I'm Tim Gasper, longtime data nerd, customer guy, product guy at data. world. Joined by co- host Juan Sequeda.

00:00:24 Juan Sequeda
Hey Tim, I'm Juan Sequeda, principal scientist at data. world and it is always a pleasure, Wednesday, middle of the week, end of the day and is time to drink some cocktails and talk to data.

00:00:36 Tim Gasper
In a special place.

00:00:36 Juan Sequeda
In a special place where-

00:00:37 Tim Gasper
With a special guest.

00:00:38 Juan Sequeda
We are here live from San Diego at the end of DGIQ, the Data Governance Information Quality conference. And we are at this really nice restaurant and we're going to have our honest no BS dinner with our special guest, Aakriti, how are you?

00:00:52 Aakriti Agrawal
I'm good. How are you?

00:00:52 Juan Sequeda
I am so excited that we're finally having this because here's a little bit of backstory. At the last DGIQ in DC in December, I'm having dinner... We're having lunch or dinner, I don't know, with Malcolm Hawker, right? And suddenly Aakriti just shows up at our table. And we just had the most awesome conversation about, I mean, all over the place. And immediately I said, "Aakriti, you need to be in the podcast." That's it. And we finally made it happen. I said, " You know what? I want to do this live." And we waited six months later. So this is so cool. I'm so excited you're here.

00:01:24 Aakriti Agrawal
Well, thanks for having me. I was looking for the chattiest table in the room, and obviously Juan was up-

00:01:30 Tim Gasper
And you found him.

00:01:31 Aakriti Agrawal
...and it was mostly a conversation about podcasts. It was a great time.

00:01:34 Juan Sequeda
Yeah. And so you're the manager of data governance at American Express. We're going to go talk a lot about data governance and change management stuff. But before we get there, what are we drinking? What are we toasting for?

00:01:44 Tim Gasper

00:01:45 Aakriti Agrawal

00:01:45 Tim Gasper
You want to start with yours?

00:01:47 Aakriti Agrawal
...this is an apricot honey cocktail with fee foam, which is apparently different from aquafaba and from egg whites, but it's the foam part which is gone now but it's delicious.

00:01:57 Tim Gasper
Nice. That looks great. I have a black margarita. It's got some black sea salt around it and it's got two other really tasty ingredients. I forget exactly, but it tastes really good. Yeah.

00:02:08 Juan Sequeda
And you ordered mine. So what is this?

00:02:10 Tim Gasper
Yours is a raw honey, old- fashioned.

00:02:12 Aakriti Agrawal
They make their own honey here. So that's

00:02:14 Tim Gasper
Yeah, it's bee side. It's the honey's theme, right?

00:02:16 Aakriti Agrawal
Honey is the theme. Cheer.

00:02:17 Juan Sequeda
What are we going to cheers for? What are we going to toast?

00:02:19 Aakriti Agrawal
Cheers to the California sun.

00:02:22 Tim Gasper
Yeah, California sun and-

00:02:23 Juan Sequeda
We're actually seeing the ocean right there.

00:02:25 Tim Gasper
You can see the beach right across the way.

00:02:25 Aakriti Agrawal

00:02:25 Tim Gasper

00:02:25 Aakriti Agrawal

00:02:26 Juan Sequeda
Cheers. All right. So we have our warmup question and it's because the title of this was supposed to be There is no I in Data Teams, but I changed it to Data Governance, anyways. Question is, what team sport did you always wish you were good at but you never were?

00:02:43 Aakriti Agrawal
Okay, so I'm a really good team player, but I'm really bad at sports. So all the sports, I wish I was good at sports in general, but I was an art kid. And I would just make a lot of friends and then we would go and do arts and socialize. So I don't know, probably all of them. I wish I could score a basket in basketball. That's probably the key.

00:03:08 Juan Sequeda
I was going to say, inaudible.

00:03:09 Aakriti Agrawal
I've never done that, but I was on a basketball team for a while and never scored a basket.

00:03:12 Juan Sequeda
For me. I think basketball, I like basketball as a kid but I wasn't playing it, but that was a really good...

00:03:18 Aakriti Agrawal
I'm too short to score baskets, it can't be expected for me to do that.

00:03:23 Juan Sequeda
How about you, Tim?

00:03:24 Tim Gasper
I think for me it would be soccer where I really enjoyed soccer. I played it throughout a lot of my youth, but I could never score a goal because I just, I would kick the ball and it would go in a weird direction and I was kind of bad at goalie, so it would always be a midfielder because I was good at running, so they'd just have me run around all over the place.

00:03:42 Aakriti Agrawal
You're just looking for the ball, constantly running back and forth.

00:03:45 Tim Gasper
Just chase the ball.

00:03:46 Aakriti Agrawal
I love that.

00:03:47 Juan Sequeda
Oh, all right. Well talk about chasing the ball and stuff. Let's kick this off and-

00:03:49 Aakriti Agrawal

00:03:50 Juan Sequeda
... allright. Honest no BS. What does change management and data governance have to, what does it mean for those things to go together?

00:03:57 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. So data governance at a lot of places is brand new. And so you're changing the culture and that's why we talk a lot about change management. Change management usually entails of three different things. People, processes and tech. And my focus for a really long time has been the people side of change management and how do you get people okay with change? A lot of the work done in the change management space is from HR, it's from human resources. And so a lot of people in data are learning about it and starting to adopt different models and get more into what change management means for us in the data space.

00:04:31 Juan Sequeda
So one thing I really want to go into is that you have so much experience starting being governance as a team of one, right?

00:04:41 Aakriti Agrawal

00:04:41 Juan Sequeda
Now American Express is kind of a much larger organization. Tell us a little bit about kind of what you've gone through and how does that people aspect come in and the change of experience. Because I think you have that really unique point of view that put a lot of people listening. We were at DGIQ this week, right? There's people like, " Oh, I'm in this world and that other world. How does that go?"

00:04:59 Tim Gasper
Most people haven't seen the full spectrum.

00:05:01 Juan Sequeda
Yeah, you have.

00:05:01 Tim Gasper
So tell about us about that.

00:05:02 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah, so I think where I first got introduced to change management for real was in the non-profit space. So when you're working on non- profits, you're always trying to change culture, whether that's within your community or your city or just the landscape of whatever cause you're trying to work on. That's where I really learned about the people side. But from a data governance perspective, I used to be at a company where I theoretically, basically was a team of one. And so I was doing everything from setting up the policies and figuring out what people would work on what to being an admin for our software, to working with the clients and gathering information, recording that information, making sure it was good quality. I did all of that. For almost a year now I've been at American Express, and American Express is a much larger company and also has a much larger data governance team. So it's been an interesting shift. We follow a federated model, which means that there is enterprise data governance and they set up policies, they set up the tooling, they do all of that. And then me, as a federated member of a business line, I get to implement all those policies and really work hands on with our clients and our data, and figure out what data governance means to the people doing the work.

00:06:14 Tim Gasper
That is super cool.

00:06:15 Aakriti Agrawal
So it's a really different mindset to go into because I'm working a lot heavier on the change management side because I have more time. I'm not working on policy as much and I'm not working on tooling as much and I'm not changing code or doing any of that. So it's been really cool to dive deeper and learn more about our products and our people and our customers.

00:06:36 Tim Gasper
Most folks haven't seen those two extremes, and I think AmEx probably has a very large and mature governance organization. And I'm really curious about, so tying this back to change management. How is change management different in a one person governance team versus a really large governance team? And in particular with the latter to some degree, there's an assumption that like, oh, well because you have such a large governance team, people kind of know what governance is and it's a more formalized process. But yet at the same time change management is probably so much harder because you're trying to affect tens of thousands of people and affect what they're doing. So how is change management different in those different paradigms?

00:07:26 Aakriti Agrawal
I think the theory is the same. You're doing the same stuff, you are doing it to a lot more people. So there's more people that have to process the change. There's more people that are going through these journeys. There's a lot more people that are trained, there's a lot more people to talk to, there's a lot more people to understand, but you're doing the same stuff. So Juan and I were chatting a little bit this week and we were talking about how I really like to use the term change leadership, not change management. Because a lot of change management theory talks about how change... People are resistors and people are upset about change, and you have to manage these people but really you have to lead them. You need to inspire them, you need to bring them into the process. You need to figure out what they need and figure out how to address that. So I think change should be led, not managed. And think about the differences between leading a team of 20 versus leading 40, right? You're doing the same stuff, you just have to do it for more people. So it takes more time and more energy, and you're spending more individual energy with folks. But you also have more champions, you also have more people that are excited about what you're doing. You have more people that you can cater this to. You have more opinions, which means you have more diverse opinions. Well, hopefully you have more diverse opinions and that means you're getting more insights. So I think it's a lot of the same. It's just a different scale.

00:08:38 Tim Gasper
You still need to identify your champion. You still need to build out your stewardship model.

00:08:43 Aakriti Agrawal

00:08:43 Tim Gasper
Having governance committees, all the same things apply. It's just at a much larger scale and also it seems like more specialization. For example, you're not having to spend as much time on administrative work and things like that, right?

00:08:56 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. Well, our teams are just larger, right? So a one person data governance shop is using more volunteers than their company. So that's why I like to call them volunteers. They're people that are not resourced to be a part of your data governance.

00:09:10 Juan Sequeda
That's an excellent point, is that if you're that one team, you don't have more people on your team so they're volunteers.

00:09:17 Aakriti Agrawal
You're going around your company and looking for champions, looking for people that are excited about your cause, just like we do in non- profit spaces, right? You're looking for people that are pumped about what you're doing, want to be involved in it. You're bringing them in, you're figuring out what makes them tick, how do they love to be recognized? Do they want a little gift at the end of the year? What do they need to be a part of this process? If you have employees, that's a little easier because now they're paid and they have to do it, right? There's performance reviews. So it's just the motivations are a little bit different, but you're doing a lot of the same stuff.

00:09:47 Juan Sequeda
So you have a nonprofit background.

00:09:50 Aakriti Agrawal
I do.

00:09:50 Juan Sequeda
This is super fascinating because I love how we always want to make analogies of things and maybe connect the dots here, like non- profit and with governance and how that actually helps to incentivize, motivate and actually lead to change.

00:10:04 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. So I'm actually doing a workshop tomorrow at DGIQ so I know you said conference is over, but people add on a day session or a two- day session.

00:10:12 Tim Gasper
Oh wow, yeah.

00:10:13 Aakriti Agrawal
And I'm excited to be talking about that. But my whole model that I talk about is focused on my experience in the non- profit space as well as the data governance space. Because I think they're really similar. So when you're at a nonprofit, you are addressing a problem that's largely ignored. So your community is not taking care of this problem. You saw a need, you're addressing it. And a lot of companies, the people who end up running the data governance department are the people who identified the issue. So you go to your leadership and you say, " Hey, this data's not great quality. I think it needs to be better." And then they're like, " Sounds good. You seem like you know what you're talking about. You are in charge of this now." So you get voluntold to do it. Just like in non- profits, if you're the person who identifies the issue, you're probably leading it. And then you don't have a lot of people who are resourced to be a part of your team so you're looking for volunteers just like non- profits are. I started a non- profit in Lincoln, Nebraska that taught girls to code. And when I started, there were three of us and we grew and we have over 250 volunteers now. We still have no employees.

00:11:13 Tim Gasper
That is awesome.

00:11:13 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. And I've recently stepped away, which means we have a whole new leadership team. And that's really similar to governance work too. You're not going to be as the founder of this or as the person who started the governance work, you're not going to be in it forever. So your goal is to set it up really well so that somebody else can take it and run with it. You're also very low on funding. Every dollar in a non- profit is extremely hard to get, so you have to be very careful with how you spend it. Just like every dollar in a governance organization is extremely hard to get so you have to be very careful how you spend it. And you're doing a lot of education and training. A lot of people don't know what you're doing. You're going to be doing a lot of pitching, you're essentially a fundraiser, you're essentially a salesperson, and you're all of these things kind of wrapped into one human, which is what you are usually at a nonprofit when you're starting it. So I do take a lot from my non-profit background because I feel like they're very similar. And during my presentations, I always have to start off with, " Okay, why did I tell you about all of my nonprofit background?" And it's because you're using the same skills. You're an entrepreneur and you are using entrepreneurial skills, but you have no avenues for getting funding. You have to figure those out on your own. No one around you understands what you're doing. You have to sell the idea. And a lot of the people who are funding your program are not going to be beneficiaries of it. And so that's exactly how non- profits work. Your donors are not benefiting from your cause, so you have to figure out other ways to pitch it or to sell them on your idea.

00:12:43 Juan Sequeda
Well, so hold on.

00:12:44 Aakriti Agrawal
It's almost like selling a product.

00:12:47 Juan Sequeda
Well, let me go push on this one. You said that funding the program... People who are funding the program would always benefit from the cause. I mean for data governance, shouldn't we make the argument that everybody is going to be benefiting?

00:13:01 Aakriti Agrawal

00:13:01 Juan Sequeda
Indirectly and directly.

00:13:02 Aakriti Agrawal
You are, right. But it takes a while to set up a data governance program. And that's the other thing, right?

00:13:06 Juan Sequeda
So they won't see the benefit in any short term.

00:13:07 Aakriti Agrawal
They're not going to see it immediately. A lot of the times you're going up to a senior leader and you're saying, " Hey, here's a vision. I see. And I think this vision is very important for our corporation or our state government or department or whatever you're selling this to." But maybe you're not going to be here for it because it's a vision. And that's why we talk about visioning. That's non- profits, right? My non- profit, our vision was to have equity in fields of STEM. Girls and boys should be equal in STEM fields. I'm probably not going to see that in my lifetime. Hopefully I'll see movement towards it. I'll see incremental change, but it's not going to be solved. Just like every company is not going to become a data governance expert. They're not going to win a data governance award, but they're going to get better. And the goal is better, not perfect, and the goal is progress, not perfection. And so we're just trying to get a little bit better little by little and seeing how much progress we can make. And that's the vision you're selling.

00:14:09 Tim Gasper
To some degree that's such a kind perspective on it, which I love, right? But the counterpoint that I think in my mind is a little bit like, there's always these stats and we're like, " Oh, the CDO only has 24 months really, or 36 months in their role before they cycle through. And the next CDO comes in with their own agenda." How do you deal with that short term focus sometimes? Not just in, I mean in non- profits I'm sure it happens all the time too.

00:14:40 Aakriti Agrawal
All the time.

00:14:40 Tim Gasper
But also in the corporate environment as well.

00:14:42 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. So I think the question is the answer. Data governance is about recording knowledge that's been in the company for so long. There are people doing this work, they're around you, you just have to find them and you have to incentivize them to record this stuff. Somebody knows what customer means because they use that data. How do you get those people to write it down so that it lives beyond an employee? It lives beyond their tenure, it lives beyond that project. It lives beyond whatever that is. Data governance is not project it's a program. We hear this constantly, right?

00:15:18 Juan Sequeda
Hear this constantly. Yes.

00:15:19 Aakriti Agrawal
All the time people say that, but it's really a journey and it's a long journey. And so you want to get a little bit further. You want to be a little bit better every time. And that's how non- profits work too.

00:15:33 Juan Sequeda
How would you describe the data governance vision? And is there a generic vision for all organizations or specific wise? And in your experience what's been, how have you pitched that data governance vision? You would fix the vision of your non-profit?

00:15:48 Aakriti Agrawal
So my favorite thing to do is called data therapy.

00:15:50 Juan Sequeda
Yes. I use this word too. Data therapy.

00:15:52 Aakriti Agrawal
Really? I thought I coined it, Juan. I don't get to claim it.

00:15:56 Tim Gasper
You guys, the use of lineage, we'll see where it came from, right?

00:15:59 Aakriti Agrawal
We'll copyright it, Juan and Aakriti. So I have a model for data therapy so-

00:16:04 Juan Sequeda
By the way, sorry, in a talk yesterday by Aaron Wilkerson who will be a guest soon. Somebody was having this discussion and I said, data therapy. And somebody says like, " Yes." And actually I get called the mom because people are like, I come in, I hug them. Anyways inaudible just wanted that out.

00:16:23 Aakriti Agrawal

00:16:23 Juan Sequeda
Well, it's like-

00:16:24 Aakriti Agrawal
I have a whole data therapy model that I use. And what I do is I call somebody in a business partner or a subject matter expert into a room, a WebEx call, a Zoom, whatever, and we just listen to their data problems. And your vision for data governance should be built on a problem that your department or your company is experiencing. So that's the best vision, right? You need a real life issue that you can solve through data governance. Very often people use things like, our data. We have data across the company not everybody knows what it means or what it's for or whether they can trust it. It's a very common ballpark vision that people use. But you can get more specific. So I've used before customer. So at my previous company, we had multiple different business lines that we sold insurance and we had an individual customer and a group customer. Well, customer and group is a company, we're selling group dental insurance. That's a company purchasing that insurance policy for all of their employees. On an individual basis if you're buying a life policy, you're the customer. So now when somebody sees a database that says customer, what does that mean? Because it could have two very different meanings. And the laws around those two meetings are different, and how you would use that data is different. And maybe with contextual clues or metadata you know that, hey, this table is called group customer." So it's probably group customer. But that's what data governance really does is we're recording that. But then also we're going a step further and we're saying, " All right, I know this customer is Tim. How do I know it's actually Tim? Or how do I know it's you, Tim, and not like other Tim." And so that's what the metadata and the data governance and the data quality does. Data governance is a gateway in a data quality. And that's why a lot of people do data governance because you can't manage your quality if you don't know what your data means. And so you need all of that together.

00:18:14 Juan Sequeda
So this is, one of my pet peeves is when people say, " Well, why do you need a data catalog or a tool or whatever." Because we can't trust our data, because we can't find our data. I'm like, " Yeah, no. Sure, sure. I get that. Tell me more." " Well, because we need to democratize data." I'm like, " I get it, but tell me more about that, right?"

00:18:34 Aakriti Agrawal

00:18:35 Juan Sequeda
It's that lack of disconnect from the true problems within an organization. So I think this is, I'm super happy you're bringing this up that we need to have more of these data therapy sessions and like, we'll just go and catalog all the problems we have.

00:18:50 Aakriti Agrawal
I have a worksheet on it. If you need to figure how to do your data therapy session, I can send you step- by- step instructions with notes to fill out. You're a therapist.

00:18:58 Tim Gasper
That would be amazing.

00:18:59 Aakriti Agrawal
And it's not hard. It takes a lot of time, right? We talked about change management takes time and energy and effort, but it also gets you results. Because now you have an actual business case, you have actual business value if you can figure out numbers for it. You have actual dollar amounts for your data issue and you know how you can prioritize things to fix, based on that. So you're not just walking around fixing everything for everybody. You are figuring out what's the most important thing and how you can save your business the most money or make them the most money through data governance. And now you can go up to your C- suite and say, " Hey, look at how much money I saved you. Or look at how much money we're making, or look at all of this and here's dollar value." And that's what businesses care about.

00:19:47 Tim Gasper
Yeah. I love that.

00:19:47 Juan Sequeda
You have your, talking about your anchor mode.

00:19:48 Aakriti Agrawal

00:19:49 Tim Gasper

00:19:49 Juan Sequeda
All right. Let's go dive into this. Explain it. Basically you're giving an eight hour tutorial tomorrow. Shrink that to a couple of minutes right now.

00:19:59 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah,. Okay. So there's not a lot of change management, change leadership frameworks out there in data governance, right? So here's what I think works best. Anchor, which I am presenting on a boat tomorrow, which is just super fun.

00:20:13 Tim Gasper
That's perfect.

00:20:13 Aakriti Agrawal
And it's a blue boat. My whole theme is blue so that's fun too. But it's an acronym. So A is for aim. Aim is where we're going. So it's our path. And during the aim stage, we need to do that data therapy. So we have to figure out how we're going to help people, what are we actually going to do? We got to choose a problem, one problem that we're going to solve in this process, right? What we're also going to do during AIM is figure out what are the capabilities of our organization? Every organization is different. Organization culture changes. What are things that our org is good at? And so that's step one, which is aim. Step two is need. So in need, you're going to calculate dollar values for your business value. Dollar amounts for your business value, and you are going to figure out how to communicate that to leadership. So we're going to make a business case model. We're going to talk about the different aspects of calculating value, both quantitative and qualitative value, because both of those matter, and we're going to figure out how to communicate that to people. Step three is, I just skipped past it. I have little notes in front of me so I don't forget.

00:21:22 Tim Gasper
Ooh, nice.

00:21:22 Aakriti Agrawal
Step three is community. So now that you know what you're working on, you need to bring people in. So that's where our volunteers come in. That's where our community comes in. We have to figure out who all we need to communicate with, how to communicate with them. We need to figure out how to recognize people that are already doing the work. And then eventually we'll need to figure out how to hire more people. So what kind of skill sets do we need for actual employees? Tim was just telling me four years ago, you guys were 20 people in your company, now you're over a hundred, right? What was the number?

00:21:50 Tim Gasper
Yeah, almost 160 people now.

00:21:52 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah, 160. So you had to figure out what those 120 skill sets were. And so that's part of your community. So it's a volunteer community, an employed community. It's your champions, it's everybody together. Step four is hooray with an exclamation point. Because change management is hard because it's a long journey, right? And so it's important over time to celebrate all of these wins. So we're going to celebrate all of the wins. The big wins, the small wins, and we're going to figure out how to communicate those to everybody.

00:22:24 Tim Gasper
I'm glad you're mentioning that because when you were talking earlier about getting people excited about the vision and things like that, one of the thoughts that came across my mind was, but how do you show short term progress, right?

00:22:37 Aakriti Agrawal

00:22:37 Tim Gasper
And that's like the wins, celebrating the wins along the way, right?

00:22:39 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. And you have to do that, right? So a lot of your people are volunteers. They need to be recognized by showing them that you're making progress you can do that. You also have to show your leadership that you're making progress. So in the hooray stage, we talk a lot about party planning and how do you plan a really good party and how party planning is a social glue. And so throw fun parties, be a fun department. It has to be a fun process for people to want to be involved. And that really goes hand in hand with understanding who your people are and what makes them tick. The fifth factor we talk about, the O is obstacles. And so identifying barriers and removing them. And a lot of us in the business space, we're used to talking about obstacles. We talk about in every scrum meeting, every single morning at 8: 00 AM you are talking about what's your barrier and the way. So we are really focusing on decision making bias here and how you can start to change people's culture and mindset and start to change the habits that exist in your organization so that they can benefit you and benefit this process a little bit better. What you're doing here is you're building social capital at your company, so you are creating processes and changing culture. It's going to benefit not just data governance, but everything that you do. And then the sixth step is resilience. So you've done all of this stuff and all of these factors take place concurrently, and they take place repeatedly. So they're not really in an order, they're just in the order of the acronym really. But resilience is all about increasing your ability to adapt to adversity. So what can we do to make this all stick? How do we anchor this change in our company? How do we make sure we can lead it in the future? And so we talk a lot about the various types of capital that we've built. We talk about stretching that muscle. How do you work that out constantly and make sure that this culture change isn't just a project, it becomes a habit, it becomes a program, it becomes culture at your company, so you can keep doing this going forward.

00:24:38 Juan Sequeda

00:24:39 Aakriti Agrawal
Sorry, that was a lot.

00:24:40 Juan Sequeda
No, no, this is-

00:24:40 Aakriti Agrawal
You said real quick.

00:24:41 Juan Sequeda
This is fascinating. Okay, so couple of things. First thing immediately comes to mind is, nothing about technology in your Anchor model.

00:24:53 Aakriti Agrawal
Right? Okay. So this is a change management model, which is people, processes, and tech. I focus on the people. Because tech people know tech. And this does contain a lot of process because there are a lot of processes that are going to change, but it's all about people. People process change the same way that they process grief. There are multiple stages of change management leadership, and it follows the stages of grief. You need to get people to acceptance, so they're okay with it. And the reason that people process change the way they process grief is because there's fear. They're afraid that they're going to lose their job or lose what they're good at, or things are going to change around them. Right? So they're going to lose either connection or autonomy. And so through this whole process, you're putting connection, autonomy back in. You're involving people in the process of change. We are bringing them in. Instead of calling them out, you're bring calling them in. That's a really important aspect in like DEI, diversity, equity, inclusion work that we're leaning on. And what you're doing is you're allowing people to be part of that process so they have their own overship, of this change so they can help guide it within that culture to what they need it to be. Not just we're not ignoring their fear, we are addressing their fear and we're saying, " We understand you're scared. That's okay. We're going to get through this together and we're going to all be better including you, and you're going to have a say in that process."

00:26:12 Tim Gasper
This actually sounds a lot like therapy.

00:26:15 Aakriti Agrawal
Right. Well Tim, if you need therapy, I will be your therapist. Just call me.

00:26:19 Tim Gasper
Sounds good. We'll all do some group data therapy.

00:26:22 Aakriti Agrawal

00:26:23 Tim Gasper
No, I love that.

00:26:25 Aakriti Agrawal
But it is similar, right? It's psychology. And in tech, we don't talk about psychology a lot. We don't talk about people.

00:26:33 Tim Gasper
Right. And we have to remember that these are... People have their fears, their motivations, not everyone's aligned. Governance is one of those things where the agenda isn't always unified across everyone. Right? And so you have to find a way to mobilize 70,000 people to go do something you need them to do.

00:26:51 Aakriti Agrawal
Right. And think about, if you've ever been at a company where they've talked about layoffs or the grapevine has talked about something changing in the HR world. There's a lot of fear that goes with that. And the best way to tackle fear is information. You give people information. " Here's what we're doing, here's how this works. What do you think? How can you be a part of this process?" We just need to put information in. I think somebody said the best way to tackle gossip is facts. And it's true, right? Think about if there's ever been a change at your company or in your friend circle or in your life, if you just had information how much better off you would've been if you could trust that information. So we need to be that department that's saying, " Hey, we understand that there's some policy and this might be internally executed or externally." We might have some like the Fed or FDIC or Basel. There might be some legal concerns, which is why data governance is going in, or maybe just our data's bad and we need to fix it and we understand that that's an issue. It doesn't matter what's causing it. As long as you can give people information so that they can help tackle it, that helps a lot.

00:27:58 Tim Gasper
I love the idea of calling attention to information and facts. Because I think sometimes as leaders, we become concerned when we don't have an answer for something. And so when a challenge comes up, a response sometimes can be to withhold and be like, " We're not ready yet. We are figuring that out." And so that creates uncertainty, right? And sometimes it's two things. One, it's better to be honest about that uncertainty or we're working through it. And secondly, a theme that always comes up on our show is around don't blow the ocean, right? And if you're trying to do something so big that you're just creating this mystery around it, that's going to cause a lot of difficulty with the organization, a lot of fear, a lot of confusion, right? When if you can keep a really communicative cadence with your organization, that's going to be a lot better.

00:28:56 Aakriti Agrawal
A general life rule, just for everybody listening and for everyone involved. I tell this to kids a lot. Don't ever say you know something you don't know. Because you're the only person who sounds like an idiot.

00:29:08 Juan Sequeda
We're getting ahead ourselves on the advice gift to give, because that's at the end. But this is so true.

00:29:16 Aakriti Agrawal
The thing that people do the most is, if you don't know what you're doing, that's okay. None of us know what we're doing. Kids grow up thinking, all adults have their life figured out and then we all change careers drastically, constantly. Most adults did not do not work in what they went to school for. And I think we have to be okay with not knowing how things work.

00:29:36 Juan Sequeda
Honestly no BS here. A lot of this shit we're just making it up as we go.

00:29:39 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. And you try it and see if it works. And if it works, then great. And if it doesn't work, you change.

00:29:44 Juan Sequeda
And you learn from that and you keep going.

00:29:46 Aakriti Agrawal
And I used to run a non- profit that taught kids to code, right? And the reason we teach kids code to get girls in particular, to get them into STEM is because we want them to fail in a safe environment where they can see that failure is good. When you're writing code, and I'm sure a lot of your listeners are tech people, you are not going to get it right the first time. And if you did, it's probably wrong. It takes a long time to get good code out. You're going to sit there and stare at it for days, and then you're going to realize you missed a comma. You're going to have to talk to a rubber duckie and explain your code to them. It is a series of problem solving and failure. And when you're solving important problems in the world, there is no guidebook. It's not been solved before. So you can't be expected to solve it the first time. And so it's the same thing with data governance. We're all doing something new at our companies, hopefully right. We're starting a new program, we're growing a program, we're doing something that's new and interesting and learning.

00:30:39 Juan Sequeda
But I do argue that the experience like what you're providing here, this Anchor model. And people have gone through that process, and I think it's really important is to have folks like you speaking out saying, " This is what's working. This is how we've done this but it's not-" So it brings me to the next question is, tell me things that are not working. Let's talk about some of the negative or, not negative or bad but like, " Don't do this, so you've learned. inaudible" I'm curious to go, what have been the unsuccessful approaches that you've gone through that has driven you to go figure out this Anchor model?

00:31:11 Aakriti Agrawal
I think the largest thing that I've learned, the biggest lesson is that you can't put a timeline on some of this stuff. You can't put a timeline on a person being okay with a change. The same way you can't put a timeline on a person processing grief. It takes time, it takes a lot of effort, it takes a lot of energy from both sides. And so there's not a one size fits all. And being from a tech space and a lot of data governance folks either come from tech or work in tech, there's a lot of tech or concrete business. We're used to data. We're used to formulas, we're used to numbers. This isn't that. There's no formula on how you make somebody okay with something. And so that's a large part of it, just being okay with things going slower and trying out new things. So being creative in your methods so that you can figure out what a person needs and how you can get them to where you need them to be, in a way that's on their own pace, but also on your pace is really important and an important lesson. There's been so many times where we've tried to rush people and then they've become mad and now they're resistors, they're like true resistors. Earlier they were like maybe going to go along with it and now they hate us, and now we've built an enemy.

00:32:21 Tim Gasper
How do you deal with the fact that, and it very much resonates with me, don't try to set a timeline on change, right?

00:32:29 Aakriti Agrawal

00:32:29 Tim Gasper
How do you deal with the fact though that there are timelines. Where it's like, we need to roll out this program by next year or something like that, right? And how do you navigate that interplay of, people have to accept change. I can't force change on them. But also we're getting paid to do a job-

00:32:47 Aakriti Agrawal
We got time, we are a business, we're here to make money.

00:32:47 Tim Gasper
We have to hit our timelines or our roadmap, right?

00:32:50 Aakriti Agrawal
And there is a balance, right? Okay, so think about... Give me an example of a change that's happened in your career not related to data, like an HR change. Maybe you got a new boss, maybe you got a new coworker, right? Something like that.

00:33:02 Juan Sequeda
We changed jobs internally.

00:33:04 Tim Gasper
Oh yeah.

00:33:06 Juan Sequeda
Putting you on the spot.

00:33:06 Tim Gasper
So one example could be, so I used to be our head of product management at data. world. And about seven months ago, I switched to being our chief customer officer. That's one example that not wasn't just a change for me, but it was a change for the organization, right?

00:33:18 Aakriti Agrawal
So obviously you had a date when you were making that change, right? Seven months ago, there was a date and Juan said, " This is it. You're changing position." And you had to be okay with that. You didn't have to truly be okay with it. You could have done it knowing that that's what you need to do. And then for the next few months, you were probably evaluating, " Is this the right move for me in my career? Am I good at this? What skills do I need to learn?" So the people side of change management extends past that deadline for your project, for the deadline for that implementation. So think about data governance. You're bringing a system and a certification, right? Maybe you have a year to do that, that's okay. But at some point in that process, not everyone's going to be on board and that's also okay. You make it very clear to everybody you're working with like, " Hey guys, I know you're not happy about this necessarily, but I'm here to help you work through it and we will figure this out together. We do have a deadline. So we're going to move this. We're going to certify the system by the date, but we're going to keep working with you. And this is a relationship that we're forming and we're going to keep working with you to make sure that you are okay with the way this is working. You're going to be involved in this process. We're going to be fully transparent. We will be here for whatever you need." Right? There you go. You've made the relationship. Now you've made it clear you have a deadline. Employees understand that businesses have deadlines. You have to tell them your deadline. So many people just don't. They're like, " Hey, we're doing this thing and I don't know, you'll figure it out." No. Information. Give them information. And it's the same thing, right? Companies do layoffs. It's not a happy thing. Lots of, we're in tech right now. All of the tech companies are doing layoffs. There's so many tech layoffs that have happened over the last couple of years in Silicon Valley. And this is the date you're being laid off, but we're going to help you. And it's not an ideal situation, but we have to learn to manage conflict in a way that is civilized and comfortable for people even though we know the conflict itself is hard. You're making hard decisions all the time. They're just different scales. You just have to talk to people about your hard decision. It really is therapy.

00:35:26 Tim Gasper

00:35:27 Aakriti Agrawal
Transparency. It goes a long way.

00:35:29 Tim Gasper
Transparency. And I really like what you said, where when the change is happening is not what change management is all about. It's not just about when that change happens. Yeah. It's leading up to the change. It's after the change. It's the systems that we put in place to support how people will react to the change and how we're supporting them. And so it's not just about this change is happening, we have to manage change about helping people get the broader acceptance in their inaudible.

00:36:03 Aakriti Agrawal
You're leading it and not managing it. That's exactly what it is. Leadership is about mentorship, about growth, about development. Management is about doing this thing right now. And that's why I talk about leadership. You are a leader. Even if you're not in a position of leadership, you are leading somebody through something. You're not managing them through it. Because management ends, leadership never ends. And that's the difference.

00:36:24 Tim Gasper
So one thing related to change management is that I think that, and Juan, I'm curious if you're seeing the same thing I am. I have a feeling that this is going to resonate with you too. I think a lot of people feel like change management is kind of booting. They're like, " Change management..." Some people are like, " Oh, that's really important. That's really important." But you ask them about change management, they're like, "Yeah, yeah, I don't know. Politics or something like that." So how do we demystify change management a little bit and maybe get a little more comfortable talking about it?

00:36:55 Aakriti Agrawal
So I think, I don't know how many DGIQ's you guys have been to or how many data governance things, I'm guessing a ton, right? Just like me, people love talking about change management and then they just stop. They'll say, " Change management is people, processes, tech. Let's move on."

00:37:10 Tim Gasper
It's a great way. You drop it into a conversation, you're like" Change management." And people go, "Uh huh."

00:37:14 Juan Sequeda
Yeah, yeah.

00:37:14 Aakriti Agrawal
Sounds good.

00:37:15 Juan Sequeda
Yeah. We need that. And it's hard to go do. Yeah, yeah. We go. And then we go into the technology.

00:37:20 Aakriti Agrawal
Let's move on. But it's not frost, right? There's actual research being done in this field. So my example is non- profits, right? So when I started my nonprofit, I knew nothing about non- profits, genuinely nothing. I walked into the situation, no idea what was happening. And since then I've gotten my MBA with a focus in non- profits and I've learned that people are doing research on non- profits. There is actual theory and models and research being done in that space. Who knew? Who knew data governance existed before they got into it? Who knew change governance existed before they had to lead change? There's people doing actual work on all of this stuff. And there's actual discipline that we can take from, we can learn from. So when people think change management is fluff, you can take that and you can say, " Hey, it's not, and here is a model. Here's a framework that we can give you that shows you that this is not just made up. You need to care about people. It's very targeted steps, programs that you can put into place and it's actionable." And that's I think what demystifies it.

00:38:25 Juan Sequeda
So I think the takeaway I'm having here is that if you're in data governance, you want to be a leader in data governance. You need to upskill yourself and start learning and understanding the research and the science behind change management. Because I think that's a crucial part of your job when it comes as a leader. Because you need to understand how that's going to affect you because you're going to be changing. And also a lot of change is going to happen in your team and around in your department or your team needs to help change around it too so I think-

00:38:54 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. I think, if you're going to be a leader in any space, not just data governance or not just data or not just anything. If you are a leader in literally any space, you have to understand the people you're leading. If you're a parent, you need to understand your kids. If you're leading a classroom, you need to understand the kids in your classroom. If you're leading an organization, you need to understand your employees. You're a non-profit, you need to understand your volunteers. Just understand your people.

00:39:16 Juan Sequeda
Understand your people.

00:39:18 Aakriti Agrawal
And that's it.

00:39:18 Juan Sequeda
Understand your people.

00:39:19 Aakriti Agrawal
Because people do your work. I mean, we're not at a point yet where robots are doing data governance for us. We're not at a point yet where robots are running our companies. So as much as we love ChatGPT, they're not doing data governance for us. And so we have to understand our people so we can keep them engaged, keep them a part of the process.

00:39:38 Juan Sequeda
So before we go, we start kind of wrapping up a little bit. I got this... Here's a good question. Can you please share what are some of the real fears you came across working with management and how you've dealt with that?

00:39:49 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah, so I think the struggle that management has with data governance from upper leadership is that they just really don't understand it necessarily. So they're afraid of a very lengthy process that's going to be super expensive. You're going to hire a bunch of people, it's not going to work. Change management, like change processes fail like 70% of the time. So if you've ever been at an organization where your change management or data governance program has failed, it's because nobody paid attention to the change management side of it. So just giving people more information and giving them more comfort and being able to answer questions and being able to say, " Hey, I'm not really sure how this is necessarily going to work out. But here's a couple of examples of other organizations that have done it. Here's a couple of examples of organizations that have been defined. Here's examples of when data management has gone badly, and here's what we're going to do to address those issues. And then as things come up, we will address them." So you don't have to have your playbook set up before the game. It's okay if you set it up during the game sometimes, right? You're going to adapt based on what's thrown at you. And that's why you hire good people and that's why you hire problem solvers, and that's why you learn how to manage and how to lead. Because then when things come up, you can do it. The problems you're going to face are going to be new. And that's okay. It's okay for you to pitch your data governance program with estimates. It's okay for you to make assumptions on things that will work. And it's okay for you to edit those as you go forward, as long as you're providing all the information and keeping people in the loop and being honest. No BS, right?

00:41:23 Tim Gasper
No BS.

00:41:23 Aakriti Agrawal
That's the thing.

00:41:24 Tim Gasper
Well, it sounds simple yet. It's hard, right? Transparency, empathy, understanding.

00:41:32 Aakriti Agrawal
It's hard.

00:41:32 Tim Gasper
That's people stuff.

00:41:33 Aakriti Agrawal
That's why we get paid the big bucks, right? It is hard work. No, but it is hard. You have to be vulnerable as a leader, which is hard. You have to be okay with not knowing what you're doing. You have to be okay in ambiguity. This is not a job for somebody who needs structure. This job is never structured. You are organizing the chaos of the world. And that's hard work. It's not for everybody. But you can learn those skills and you can develop and you can get better at it. So great question. I really like that one. The fears are going to change organization, organization, but they're going to come down to a few core things that we just talked about.

00:42:11 Tim Gasper
So before we go into lightning around and things like that, this is such an amazing discussion. We talked a lot about kind of data governance in the context of change management. I know we have a lot of listeners as well that are on data teams. They're data engineers, data analysts, et cetera, et cetera. Analytics engineers. What role do data teams and data practitioners play in the broader sort of change management around data governance?

00:42:39 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. So data governance is a process that's going to affect everybody in your organization. And it's especially going to affect your subject matter experts, your developers, people working with the data. Because they have the information and they are also facing the issues. So I think it's really important to pull those people in and hear their opinions. That's why we do data therapy with them, right? Where we want to hear their side and we want to solve some of these issues for them so that they can get back to the work that they love doing, and not work on cleaning up data for hours a day and not work on solving these data issues. And then they're not up late at night solving a production issue because some of the data was bad, or they're not getting bad customer reviews because data was bad. So it really affects everybody. And what data governance does is proactive work. It's not reactive work and it shouldn't be reactive and sometimes it is, but we want to be proactive on solving these issues before they actually become issues. We want to solve a data issue before we get fined. We want to solve a data issue before we're on the front page of the newspaper or we're in jail. And that's what it's all about. It's about getting ahead of it. We want to provide the best experience for our customers and so many of us do that inaudible.

00:43:51 Juan Sequeda
This is another episode about reactive and proactive. We can go so much into this right now. And remember DGIQ in December, somebody's at... One of the keynotes are like, " Well, how people are doing more defensive governance?" It was like 90%. And, " How many are doing offensive?" And there are barely nobody. I'm like, so even though I get that's kind of what we should be doing, but everybody's still in the protective, make sure nothing happens and reactive mode, even though we acknowledge like, well, we should be more proactive.

00:44:17 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. So let me go back to the nonprofit space, right? You're solving homelessness. Well, first you're going to deal with people that are homeless and then you're going to help make sure that nobody ever comes homeless ever again. So at the beginning it might be reactive, and that's okay because there's data issues that you have to solve.

00:44:33 Tim Gasper
So that can be a different lens on it, which is that before you can do prevention, you need to do issue resolution. You need to fix the problem so that.. And then also try to prevent the problem.

00:44:47 Aakriti Agrawal
They go hand in hand. So you're setting up a program and so you're not going to set it up just focusing on issue resolution. You're going to set it up knowing that you're going to make sure none of no issues occur ever again in the future. Part of that program is also solving issues that exist now. So you. don't give a guy fish, you teach him how to fish. That's what you're doing.

00:45:08 Tim Gasper
Yeah. Maybe he's hungry he might need to give him inaudible, right?

00:45:11 Aakriti Agrawal
You might need to give him some fish to start, if that's okay. That's fine. You give him some fish and then you teach him how to fish, and now he can do both. So, it's a combo.

00:45:20 Juan Sequeda
There is so much stuff and hey, we got 15 minutes-

00:45:24 Tim Gasper
Time flies, yeah.

00:45:24 Juan Sequeda
We got to wrap up here.

00:45:25 Aakriti Agrawal
Oh my gosh. That's quick.

00:45:27 Juan Sequeda
We keep going. I love how we've gone into the analogies you're doing with non- profits. This is really, hopefully people are getting ideas of like, " Let me go learn about non- profits, how they're working and how I can connect the dots over here." And hopefully we'll doing, thinking about therapy and connecting the dots. So this is, more of this.

00:45:42 Aakriti Agrawal
Well, hopefully people are connecting the dots to what they're doing here with whatever they're doing in their life, right? We can learn so much from the things around us because you are dealing with change constantly every single day. We are staying at a hotel and they decided to repave the parking lot during this conference. Everybody driving into that parking lot right now is dealing with some type of change and they're managing it.

00:46:05 Tim Gasper
I like how well you're relating it to things that we're experiencing right now.

00:46:08 Aakriti Agrawal
It could relate to anything.

00:46:09 Juan Sequeda

00:46:09 Aakriti Agrawal
You can use any analogy.

00:46:10 Tim Gasper
One last thing that I'll say is your Anchor framework. There's nothing about it that specifically has to be about governance.

00:46:18 Juan Sequeda
Yes, that was-

00:46:19 Tim Gasper
Right. And I love that because really-

00:46:20 Aakriti Agrawal
So I use it for non- profits. I'm working on starting my second non- profit. I use this framework.

00:46:25 Juan Sequeda
I mean, I'm thinking how I can use it for my life.

00:46:27 Aakriti Agrawal
You can use it for everything. So it's actually about everything, all of the methodology in it. It comes from various different spaces. I lean on human resources, I lean on leadership strategy. I lean on entrepreneurship. I lean on non- profits. And I want you to use it in every area of your life because you'll be better at your job. I'm a good leader because I led a non- profit for six years, not because I've been leading data government. And that taught me to be good at understanding people. And all these skills are transferable. And so the best thing we can do for our careers and the best thing we can do for our companies and our jobs is learn how to transfer skills from one area to another area. So yeah, it is very generic but I talk about data governance specific examples and that's how I bring it back. But I want people to apply that everywhere else.

00:47:15 Juan Sequeda
Love this. All right. Unfortunately for the podcast, you guys wrap up. But fortunately for us, we're going to keep chatting for a long time tonight, looking forward. It's all right.

00:47:24 Aakriti Agrawal
I'm excited.

00:47:24 Juan Sequeda
We're going to go to our next segment, which is the AI minutes. You have one minute to rant-

00:47:30 Aakriti Agrawal
Oh my gosh.

00:47:31 Juan Sequeda
...whatever you want about AI. Ready, set, go.

00:47:34 Aakriti Agrawal
Okay. So I feel like a big topic right now is ChatGPT. And my worry about ChatGPT, so hopefully someone can address this, is ChatGPT is pulling from the internet. So it's pulling from blogs and things people have put online. And those people are getting monetized for clicks. And so when will ChatGPT run out of things? Because at some point, all these people who are putting their opinions online are not going to put them online anymore because they're not being monetized for it. So we're going to lose this world of information. So I think things like hard facts will still be available to ChatGPT. So I se it to plan vacations. So who's going to fill out their blog so I can plan my vacation? Who's going to put restaurant reviews online if ChatGPT doesn't click on things? And then the other side of it is sourcing. So how do we know how good this information is? We talk about data quality and data quality is important, but to do that you have to know where it's coming from. And that's hard with AI sometimes. So I don't know. I love ChatGPT, but I'm worried about this issue of lack of information.

00:48:37 Juan Sequeda
That's a good one. This is a very different take from very past ones that we've done.

00:48:41 Aakriti Agrawal
Oh yeah?

00:48:41 Juan Sequeda

00:48:41 Tim Gasper
No, this is good.

00:48:42 Aakriti Agrawal
It's probably more of like a people side traveler take-

00:48:45 Juan Sequeda
I get it, yeah.

00:48:45 Aakriti Agrawal
Than a tech take.

00:48:46 Tim Gasper
Well, and it's more about the utility of it, not just the nerding out of it.

00:48:49 Juan Sequeda
Well, then next question is when we're going to see ads instead ChatGPT which is probably going to incentivize it.

00:48:53 Aakriti Agrawal
But it's not incentivizing the people making the content. It's incentivizing ChatGPT.

00:48:58 Juan Sequeda

00:48:58 Aakriti Agrawal
And that's different. Those are different things.

00:49:01 Juan Sequeda
We'll see what's happen.

00:49:02 Tim Gasper
I have more questions for you. We'll save it for dinner.

00:49:05 Juan Sequeda
All right. Our lightning round.

00:49:09 Aakriti Agrawal
Oh gosh. I don't know what any of them are so I'm more-

00:49:10 Juan Sequeda
And here's the thing. Tim wrote them. I haven't read them yet. So here we go.

00:49:14 Tim Gasper
Yeah, we'll find out.

00:49:15 Juan Sequeda
We'll find out together.

00:49:16 Aakriti Agrawal
Oh, you know.

00:49:18 Juan Sequeda
This is how you see how we do this live. Are we doing all this, inaudible.

00:49:20 Aakriti Agrawal
I don't know how.

00:49:20 Juan Sequeda
So question number one, does everyone in a company need to learn about change management? Or is it really more the leaders, the team trying to create the change, the governance?

00:49:29 Aakriti Agrawal
Everybody, every single person is part of this. More information is better.

00:49:34 Juan Sequeda
All right.

00:49:35 Tim Gasper
Love it. Can governance succeed without a very top level, high level executive champion or sponsor?

00:49:43 Aakriti Agrawal
Yes. Depending on your company. So some companies are very top down and so you might need that and some companies aren't so you won't. And it just depends on the culture of your company.

00:49:53 Tim Gasper
Depends on the culture.

00:49:53 Aakriti Agrawal
This is isn't a one size fits all. So it just depends on how your company works and what those organizational capabilities are that you can lean on.

00:50:00 Tim Gasper

00:50:01 Juan Sequeda
All right, next question. Does governance always ultimately come back to meaning and knowledge?

00:50:06 Aakriti Agrawal
Oh, that's a hard one. I mean, data governance is about data, right? It's about sharing knowledge and making knowledge centralized so that everybody can learn about our data. So I would say yes, we're always trying to share knowledge but that's what data is, right? Data is all about knowledge as long as it's in context. So your metadata's really important.

00:50:30 Tim Gasper

00:50:30 Juan Sequeda
Data, get the knowledge, metadata, context, speaking our love.

00:50:37 Aakriti Agrawal
Did I get the bingo card?

00:50:39 Tim Gasper
You're doing it, but keep it honest, no BS. Always play the law. We're getting too excited. All right, last question. Can you measure the value of data governance?

00:50:49 Aakriti Agrawal
Yes, absolutely. So there's many ways to measure value. I think the most common is like we're avoiding risks like fines or we're complying to laws. But think about the time of the people that you're saving. Like your data analyst is cleaning data. What's their salary? How do you divide that out by an hour? How do you figure out how many hours they're doing this? And how many people across your org are doing that work? There's so many ways to define value. And so yeah, absolutely. And you have to value is the only way you can sell anything in a business.

00:51:17 Juan Sequeda
Show me the money.

00:51:19 Aakriti Agrawal
Show me the money.

00:51:20 Tim Gasper
Show me the money.

00:51:21 Juan Sequeda
And how are you there to Joe Rice inaudible we see you're on LinkedIn, the chat. All right, take away time Tim.

00:51:27 Tim Gasper
All right.

00:51:27 Juan Sequeda
You are a very wise person. There's so much here.

00:51:32 Aakriti Agrawal
Oh, thank you. I'm so glad to be here.

00:51:34 Juan Sequeda
Tim, take us away with take away.

00:51:35 Tim Gasper
All right, final take away. So I really appreciated how you helped to unpack change management for us. And you said it's people, process and tech. And your focus has been especially around the people aspect and how central that is to change management. And you have seen change management from really small organizations where you were the one person that do it all, jack of all trades around governance to now a very large governance organization, a federated governance organization with sort of centralized and then the different departments or different groups at AmEx. And ultimately, even though those are very different from a scale standpoint, you said that there's a lot of the same stuff going on ultimately under the hood. You have to do change leadership, not just change management. You have to lead, you need to help the organization and help folks understand where things need to go. You need to have a vision and you need to actually really put people's motivations and their fears and everything that's human about us at the center and really navigate around all that, and build those volunteers across the organization. So I thought that was a really great lens to kind of look about this a very people- centric lens. And you really related it to your experiences at a non- profit, right? And non- profits, because you, you've been doing multiple of them, right? And at non- profits you have to address a problem that's largely ignored. You said the community has a problem, you have to mobilize the effort to address it. We see something similar with governance. You're mobilizing a community within the organization dealing with lots of different motivations, trying to align them, educating, training, pitching, fundraising, entrepreneurship skills. All those things that are valuable in non- profits, valuable in entrepreneurship are valuable in creating change, motivating change, leading change in your organization. Before I hand it over to Juan, you also mentioned about data therapy and how oftentimes we have to act as data therapists. We need to engage in data therapy in our organizations so that you can call in these different folks that are having problems and center the governance vision around those problems. So it's not just, we need to increase the trust of our data. It's, why does that matter for us? What specific problems are you and you and you facing? And let's align our vision around that.

00:53:58 Juan Sequeda
And tie that to money, making money saving money. Where's your risk and so forth?

00:54:03 Tim Gasper
Managing risk. Juan, what were your takeaways?

00:54:05 Juan Sequeda
Well first of all is what I'm calling this the AAM, Aakriti's anchor model. All right, A, anchor, aim. Where are we going with this? That is where the data therapy comes in. What is the problem we're trying to go solve? What are the capabilities of the organization? What's the organization good at and need? We need to understand the dollar amounts for the business value. We need to build that business case. Quantitative and qualitative value around this. C is for community. We need to bring in here because you're volunteers, we've been voluntold to do, right? Volunteers. I think this is where the non-profit, you learn so much about this. H is for hooray, let's go celebrate those wins, right? Big and small wins with the progress. Because if you're a volunteer, you want to see something valuable coming out of this stuff, right? I mean, I think you're really great. You said party planning, I'm kind of thinking about the office in a way, but it has to be really fun.

00:54:57 Aakriti Agrawal
That's where it's from, party planning committees.

00:54:59 Juan Sequeda
Party planning. The social glue, be that fun department that peoples like, " They actually do cool things. I do want to go up and volunteer there."

00:55:06 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah, do a finer things club.

00:55:07 Juan Sequeda
Yeah. O for obstacles, right? Identify those barriers, figure out how to remove them and building that social capital. And R is for resilience, right? Increasing the way to adapt to adversity. So that's your Anchor model right there. People process change the same way they process grief. This is a fascinating insight because you know what? It changes hard because they're losing things so we need to... That's a great way of having that analogy right there. Instead of calling them out, call them in, bring them into that change process. The best we can tackle fear is to provide information, to provide facts and solving important problems there isn't always a guidebook to this. I think this is a very important. I think bringing information to facts, that's a big thing that we have around here. Lessons learned from you is like you can't put a timeline on change, right? You got to get okay with change. And we talked about got, even though there are timelines you still need that change process is always going on. No one size fits all. Tech people are used to numbers and formulas, but change manager doesn't always have a formula. You got to be creative. You can't rush people. And it's about leadership, not management. Leadership doesn't end change. Change management is not voodoo. There's decades of research around change management. And I think at the end of the day we want... If you're in this governance or actually anything. I don't think leadership, go study the science behind change management, which is important. How to get upper management when data governance is combined, giving them information, being very transparent. Provide them examples of how others are being fine, of examples of success. Hire good people and pitch department with assumption with estimates. That's fine. These are going to evolve again, be transparent, acknowledge that there's chaos. And your goal here is to help organize that chaos. And I think we wrapped up with data teams and practitioners and change management. Governance is supposed to be proactive work to solve issues before they become real issues. But sometimes you just need to focus on that problems at hand right now. So I'd say homelessness, you can't go solve the problems right now before we're trying to go into the future. Okay. How did we do?

00:57:12 Aakriti Agrawal
That was impressive. You guys type fast and you speak faster, so it works out.

00:57:17 Tim Gasper
That was all you.

00:57:18 Juan Sequeda
That was you. Yeah.

00:57:19 Tim Gasper
And you don't need ChatGPT anymore, right? We have Juan and Tim GPT.

00:57:24 Aakriti Agrawal

00:57:24 Juan Sequeda
And you can confirm that its no ChatGPT right now.

00:57:26 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah. Actually this is an important point because I have heard your podcast, right? And I just figured you used something like Otter AI or something to transcribe, but you don't.

00:57:36 Juan Sequeda
You just saw the behind the scenes.

00:57:37 Aakriti Agrawal
You're typing. I know.

00:57:38 Juan Sequeda
Computer, I got my iPad here. We're doing this all live.

00:57:40 Aakriti Agrawal
I've seen how it's made and-

00:57:42 Tim Gasper
You see it.

00:57:42 Aakriti Agrawal
...I don't hate it. Right? That's the key.

00:57:44 Juan Sequeda
Let's wrap it up quickly. I got three questions for you.

00:57:46 Aakriti Agrawal

00:57:47 Juan Sequeda
What's your advice? Who should we invite next? And what resources do you follow?

00:57:52 Aakriti Agrawal
Oh, okay. So advice. I think just be patient with yourself and your people and your team. So give yourself some grace. It's hard work. And I think that's the cool thing about going to the conference. You meet other people who are facing these same issues and who are overcoming them or not overcoming them. And you just learn that you're not alone. And I think that's really important. So give yourself praise. There's a lot to learn and that's great. If you're in a room where you know everything, you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room. Go to a different room. So if you're in a situation where you're no longer learning, that's not good. So you're in the right space, if you're still learning, you're still listening to podcasts, you're still doing research. That's good. So that's my advice. So just keep learning and give yourself some grace.

00:58:38 Tim Gasper
Oh my goodness. That was awesome.

00:58:39 Aakriti Agrawal
What's next?

00:58:39 Juan Sequeda
Who should we invite next?

00:58:41 Aakriti Agrawal
Oh, okay. So I don't know the whole extent of who you've had, but I went to some really, really great talks this week. So Val Calvo from CBRE talked about communication and she was amazing. She has a clear model and it was fantastic. Deanna Barrett is in state government in Indiana, and she is talking about data governance in the state government setting, which is fascinating because so many more government departments are starting to do it. When I went to my first conference a year and a half ago, there was nothing about government. And this time there were a number of speakers about government. So I really enjoyed that. And then Danette McGilvray wrote the book on data quality. She's the data quality guru, but recently she's been talking more about this like intrepreneurship, as she calls it. How you're an entrepreneur but inside your company. So she has so much experience, so much great expertise that we should talk about. And then Chris and I learned from Darren Hook, I think he's amazing and has done this at numerous companies, but he really focuses on grace and giving people grace and bringing people in. And so I'm really glad he's my director and I'm really excited I get to work with him, and we get to create effective change together. So I don't know if you wanted four but I have four of them.

00:59:55 Juan Sequeda
Well, that was it.

00:59:56 Tim Gasper
We'll take it.

00:59:56 Juan Sequeda
And wrap up, what resources do you follow? Books, podcasts, magazines, LinkedIn or people, newsletters.

01:00:03 Aakriti Agrawal
Yeah, so Data University has a lot of really great stuff. There's webinars throughout the year and then the conferences, which I think are really helpful. But I do a lot of Googling, honestly not chatGPT searching. Just Googling. Where I'll read about change management theory. There's a lot of podcasts out there, not just in the data governance space, but in other spaces that we can lean on. The hard thing about a field that's pretty new is there isn't a lot out there, right? So we have to lean on things from other fields. So think about related fields to what you're doing and full skills from those.

01:00:33 Juan Sequeda
Oh, the analogy is right there. Aakriti, this was phenomenal discussion. You can now hear that the music is going on because-

01:00:40 Tim Gasper
They're playing us off.

01:00:41 Juan Sequeda
They're playing us off right now.

01:00:42 Tim Gasper
They're playing us off.

01:00:42 Juan Sequeda
Right now we got to go.

01:00:43 Aakriti Agrawal
My Oscar speech is over.

01:00:45 Juan Sequeda
But, all right, with that, just quick, next week we're on vacation. Tim and I, we need to take a break. We take a summer break. We've been doing this for three years. You're going to prepare season 5, six?

01:00:59 Tim Gasper
Six now. Yeah, next season's going to be season six.

01:01:01 Juan Sequeda
And we're going to start year number four of the podcast. So we need to preparing things. We have surprises, we're going to drop some surprises. Stay tuned because we're not going anywhere. We are going to take a break. And with that, Aakriti thank you so much. Thanks, let us do this every week.

01:01:12 Aakriti Agrawal Thanks for having me tonight.

01:01:12 Juan Sequeda Cheers.

01:01:12 Aakriti Agrawal Cheers.

01:01:16 Tim Gasper Cheers. Cheers everyone.

01:01:19 Aakriti Agrawal Cheers. I need to catch up.

01:01:22 Speaker 1
This is Catalog and Cocktails. A special thanks to for supporting the show. Karli Burghoff for producing, John Williams and Brian Jacob for the show music. And thank you to the entire Catalog& Cocktails fan base. Don't forget to subscribe, rate and review wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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